Piper, John. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition. Revised ed. Nashville: B&H Books, 2013, xii+308p. $14.99, paper.
Review by Shane Shaddix
Baptist21 will be hosting a panel lunch at this year’s Florida Baptist Evangelism Conference. Baptist21’s Scott Wilson will moderate the discussion. Scott is the senior pastor of FBC Melbourne, Florida
Topic: Disciple-Making: An Ancient Call for the 21st Century Church
Some Topics Covered:
B21 is grateful to be able to share a guest post from Dr. Chuck Lawless, the Vice President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. In this post Dr. Lawless outlines why the conservative resurgence was absolutely vital for the missions task of the SBC, and he encourages you to join this conversation at the B21 panel in New Orleans. B21 is excited about what God is doing at the IMB, and we are grateful to be able to partner with them.
I became a follower of Jesus at age 13. The first church I attended was a small Southern Baptist church in southwestern Ohio. That church gave me a strong, unshakeable confidence in the Word of God that has grounded me to this day. What they ultimately gave me was a theology for doing the Great Commission. I have learned since then just how important that theology is: a biblical theology should drive us to get the gospel to our neighbors and to the nations.
That theology is unquestionably clear. All human beings are separated from the one and only true God, desperately lost and destined for hell. No person is good enough in his nature to inherit heaven, nor can any person do enough good works to get there. Apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, no man has any hope.
Jesus, though, is indeed the answer. He willingly bore the sins of the world, paid the penalty for our wrong, and broke the back of the Enemy through his death. In his resurrection, he overcame death and now offers life to all who turn to him in repentance and faith. That message is amazingly good news.
Five times in the New Testament, this same Jesus—the perfect eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity—is recorded as telling us what we must do in response to this message. He who has the authority to do so mandated that we proclaim this message to all the people groups of the world. That we must do, for no one can be saved apart from a hearing of the gospel.
At any given point in this task, however, a faulty theology will lead to diversion from the Great Commission and disobedience to God. If, for example, the Bible is not the Word of God, why follow its teachings at all? If there is more than one God, why should we assume a need to proclaim the God of the Bible? If this God is not a perfectly holy God, why worry about sin at all?
Deny the lostness of human beings, and evangelism becomes only a politically incorrect religious confrontation. Assert that Jesus is a way to God—not the only way—and missions is then only a costly and arrogant cross-cultural endeavor. Reject the truth about divine judgment, and hell is explained as a faulty first-century worldview rather than the eternal judgment of a holy God. The cross itself becomes only a bloody means of death in an ancient city if the story of the gospel message is not truth about the one who is Truth.
Thus, I am deeply indebted to Southern Baptists who led the Conservative Resurgence. As a pastor since the early 1980s, I have reaped the benefits of men and women who stood for the Word, refused to compromise, and proclaimed the truth that my home church had taught me. I pray that future generations will always learn from me what others taught me by their courage and obedience.
Here is what frightens me, though: I know very few churches that would reject the biblical message, yet I know many who live as if the message does not matter. Most of us have more Bibles than people in their homes, but we seldom think about 1.7 billion people of the world who have little access to the gospel. Dollars given to missions are often leftover funds, not a sacrifice to support God’s work among the nations. And, actually going to the nations is, of course, someone else’s calling. In fact, crossing the street to speak to our neighbors is sometimes seemingly too far to go. We Southern Baptists have stood faithfully for a message that we have chosen to keep to ourselves.
Our inattention to the Great Commission is, despite our arguments otherwise, a practical denial of the very theology we claim to believe. Theology that does not affect the way we live is only an academic exercise—often a prideful one. Biblical theology lived out, though, will result in denying ourselves and taking up the cross. The Conservative Resurgence rightly applied should compel us to the hard places for the glory of Christ and the sake of the nations.
If you want to hear more about how the Conservative Resurgence should fuel Great Commission passion, plan to attend the B21 luncheon at the SBC in New Orleans. Be sure, too, to experience the TENT at the IMB booth in the exhibit hall. Join us in making disciples among the nations – no matter what the cost of Great Commission obedience may be.
Chuck Lawless is VP for Global Theological Advance of the International Mission Board.
Sunday an American named Joel Shrum was killed in Yemen by a terrorist group. The group says they killed Shrum because he was sharing the gospel and trying to convert the people of Yemen to Christianity. Shrum was 30 years old, and he leaves behind his wife and 2 children (ages 2 and 4).
Both the NGO that employed Shrum and his parents deny that he was in Yemen to proselytize. He was there as a teacher to help the impoverished people of Yemen. Two students at the school said that Shrum spoke about his faith often.
Here, perhaps, are some reactions we should have to this event:
I remember listening to John Piper’s message a few years back at T4G entitled, “The Supremacy of Christ, Radical Christian Service.” In that message he quoted Howard Guinness who asked, “Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap and be faithful unto death?” Perhaps Joel Shrum was such a man. God give us more, and give them a white robe and the crown of life!
Here’s a video of a news report:
Here’s the video for all I have is Christ:
I love my family. I grew up with great parents, the best brother, and some wonderful aunts and uncles. I also had some family members that were a little crazy. I had this one uncle named Al. He was the biggest Tennessee Vols fan I knew. Al was one of those guys who had a big bushy beard and was always really loud. It was guaranteed that when I saw him he would have a beer in his hand and an orange Tennessee trucker hat on his head. Al was just a little on the crazy side! He was probably my favorite uncle as a kid growing up.
As a boy, I looked forward to spending time with Al because he was always fun. He would always take time to love on my brother and I. He would always go above and beyond to take care of us. We knew Al loved our family very much, and we loved him, even though he was a little crazy.
I have been blessed to grow up as a member of a Southern Baptist Church. I remember sleeping on the pews as a four year old and my mom whacking me on the behind to wake up. I remember hearing the gospel faithfully preached at Galilee Baptist Church each week. I recall so clearly having a conversation with my parents and then my pastor about Jesus when I was twelve years old. I remember sitting on my pastors black, leather couch in his wood paneled office praying to trust in and receive Jesus Christ. I recall being baptized into this church, in south Knoxville and then growing up in a student ministry that discipled its students.
I’m confident that Galilee Baptist Church was in my community so that I could hear the gospel and have the opportunity to turn from sin and trust in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation. This is why I love the Southern Baptist Convention. We have stood to advance the gospel throughout the world since our origin in 1845. This is the family I am apart of. Our history is saturated with men and women who have made drastic sacrifices for the gospel. Two of these that I grew up hearing about as a young child and we as Southern Baptists champion are Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong.
I know not everything in our history has been perfect. We have had bad moments, rough times, and yes, even some crazy family members along the way. By God’s grace we came out of these moments and survived. We have also had incredible moments. Southern Baptists have stood and fought to keep the Word of God central to our convention. Even today Southern Baptists are standing to make sure the Great Commission is at the heart of everything we do as a convention of churches. I am proud of the decision to add a tagline onto our name declaring who we are as Great Commission Baptists.
I believe our best days as Southern Baptists are ahead. I want to champion the work of all of our entities, but I also know that I have a responsibility as a member of this convention to (1) be committed to Jesus Christ and my local church, (2) share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are lost, and (3) pray for my church and our convention consistently. I believe our convention is at the brink of something incredible that only God can do. We must unite together in prayer for God to bless us and use us for his glory in this generation and the next generation, just as he has in generations past.
Our family is big. We have some crazy uncles, but I know at the heart of that uncle is a love for our family. We love the SBC. As great as this convention is, we must always protect our heart against loving it more, than we love Jesus, because we know that the family of God exists for the glory of God. We exist only because God has allowed our convention to exist. Holding the gospel and the Great Commission high must be our goal.
So lets pray together, that God would continue to bless us, expand our witness, and make us a fruitful, profitable convention of churches for generations to come. May we continue to plant churches like Galilee Baptist Church so that lost little kids, like I once was, can have the opportunity to hear the gospel, turn from sin, trust in the one and only Son of God for salvation, and gain a new family. May our tribe increase for the glory of God!
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